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What Can We Do About Income Inequality In The USA?

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    #16
    Originally posted by bjl584 View Post
    Money is a mindset
    I think it was Jim Rohn who said that if you took all of the money in the world and evenly distributed it to everyone in the world, within 2 years inequality would be right back to the way it was before

    This is one of those chicken and egg questions.
    Does bad behavior lead to income inequality or is it the other way around?

    Government can't do much effectively or efficiently.
    Simply throwing more money at a problem and creating more and larger social programs probably won't fix anything.
    It can be argued that social programs have caused a lot of the problems that we see in this country.

    No easy answer here

    I agree, I have had long conversations with friends and co-workers about this.
    I have worked in many different jobs that were lower wage work and I have worked with and know many who were very comfortable.
    I have seen those with small incomes accumulate a fairly impressive net worth and others who make a bunch and are over their heads in debt. The difference is ATTITUDE and literacy around finances.

    It seems it would be easier to teach money skills and change a spend attitude is a lot easier and more realistic then OVER paying those lower on the scale for some belief that many of their problems are simply not enough money and could be fixed with a handout.

    I go into office about once a week and this week ran into some workers that supply service from a vendor...... they have really been hurt by this shut down.
    When we were chatting I noticed the 2 young men that had a good attitude about where they want to be........ have MOVED on.... to another industry/ job that has work.

    The 2 there this week simply do not see the writing on the wall that most of what they do is being scaled back for good. They talked about how they have worked around including some unemployment etc never even thinking long term or maybe they should look around.

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      #17
      Originally posted by disneysteve View Post

      About 2/3 of people who get food stamps are children, elderly, and disabled folks. The same is true for various other social programs. Most of the benefits support people who can't work for some reason. There are also many people who get benefits who do work but just don't make enough to live. There's a persistent perception that welfare is a bunch of able-bodied people who just choose not to work and that just isn't the reality.

      We'll never make progress as long as we keep blaming poverty on the poor. Not saying you were necessarily doing that, but it is a very common mindset.

      I will just say in order to fix anything people NEED to see first hand ......... I worked many years in the grocery industry and worked the register. I can tell you from Years of watching I saw way too much fraud and abuse as well as just horrible spending habits or decisions ....... it would shock many.
      The frugal person trying to stretch their food stamps were few and far between. That was the reality.....
      The stats don't look at that level.... for the most part those who are elderly or disabled were far better in their purchases and choices then families with children. It is truly depressing to witness what I have.

      As a challenge my friend still working there took a tally of items seen and we found they are still seeing the items I did over a decade ago.

      Some people trying to get off programs .....retail was a first job for many...
      Some failed immediately as they could not seem to change their habits and develop budgets to go from a once a month deposit into a weekly or bi- weekly paycheck. Perhaps the better way to fix that is to ( since most is electronic now ) load the food stamps or cash benefits in smaller amounts similar to a basic paycheck system.

      Most people even those not in the industry realize that certain times a month stores are crazy busy then the last of month is slow. My state tries to spread the loading of cards over a two week time frame .......instead of everyone getting their cards loaded on the 1st of month...... they did that for the Retailers, NOT for people on these programs.

      It was not a mindset but pure observation.
      Others who have never been on the front lines of how these programs do or ....do NOT work, fail to recognize that.

      Comment


        #18
        Originally posted by Smallsteps View Post
        Some failed immediately as they could not seem to change their habits and develop budgets to go from a once a month deposit into a weekly or bi- weekly paycheck. Perhaps the better way to fix that is to ( since most is electronic now ) load the food stamps or cash benefits in smaller amounts similar to a basic paycheck system.
        That's interesting, as I would expect it easier to budget weekly/bi-weekly checks vs. a monthly one, because on the shorter timeframe, they only need to worry about the "now" and immediate future of the next week or two.
        "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

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          #19
          Originally posted by Smallsteps View Post


          I will just say in order to fix anything people NEED to see first hand ......... I worked many years in the grocery industry and worked the register. I can tell you from Years of watching I saw way too much fraud and abuse as well as just horrible spending habits or decisions ....... it would shock many.
          The frugal person trying to stretch their food stamps were few and far between. That was the reality.....
          The stats don't look at that level.... for the most part those who are elderly or disabled were far better in their purchases and choices then families with children. It is truly depressing to witness what I have.

          As a challenge my friend still working there took a tally of items seen and we found they are still seeing the items I did over a decade ago.

          Some people trying to get off programs .....retail was a first job for many...
          Some failed immediately as they could not seem to change their habits and develop budgets to go from a once a month deposit into a weekly or bi- weekly paycheck. Perhaps the better way to fix that is to ( since most is electronic now ) load the food stamps or cash benefits in smaller amounts similar to a basic paycheck system.

          Most people even those not in the industry realize that certain times a month stores are crazy busy then the last of month is slow. My state tries to spread the loading of cards over a two week time frame .......instead of everyone getting their cards loaded on the 1st of month...... they did that for the Retailers, NOT for people on these programs.

          It was not a mindset but pure observation.
          Others who have never been on the front lines of how these programs do or ....do NOT work, fail to recognize that.
          that's true. But at the same time does it depend on where you live? Maybe some states are better about getting people off assistance?
          LivingAlmostLarge Blog

          Comment


            #20
            Wealth inequality is inevitable. People who have spare cash can invest into the s&p 500 and just ride to millions without lifting a finger.
            If someone had 113k of wealth in 1983, their wealth would be 3.4 million today IF they make ZERO additional contribution from 1983 till now and that money was in the S&P 500 for 37 years. I am not 100% sure if the graph from the op is saying income inequality is happening because the metric is in family wealth, not income.

            Of course it's harder to invest if your income is low while higher income workers have a lot of free cash to invest. But that's where the wealth inequality diverge, not necessarily income inequality. We can have exactly the same income with the same population distribution of 1983 compared to today and that family wealth metric will look exactly the same. If people haven't noticed, S&P was only 160 in 1983. It has grown 10x in a span of 37 years. This is way more important to the overall wealth of the U.S people than any income gap.

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              #21
              Originally posted by Singuy View Post
              Wealth inequality is inevitable.
              I am not 100% sure if the graph from the op is saying income inequality is happening because the metric is in family wealth, not income.
              I think James was asking about income inequality but the chart was about wealth inequality. Those are not the same thing (although they are related).

              Income inequality is also inevitable. The issue is how tremendously that gap has widened.
              Steve

              * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
              * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
              * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

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                #22
                income inequality is insane. Back in the 90s my first minimum wage job paid $4.65. Now it is $16/hr. Is that enough? I think it many other states they don't make $16/hr. But I do think it needs to get to a more "livable" wage considering how many jobs there are that people many are second wage earners for the family and need the money to make ends meet. Work at minimum wage jobs.

                I mean it's crazy that CEOs now early 1000x what a normal worker makes it feels like. Versus before it was only 100-200x. Oh that was way to littler
                LivingAlmostLarge Blog

                Comment


                  #23
                  Originally posted by disneysteve View Post

                  I think James was asking about income inequality but the chart was about wealth inequality. Those are not the same thing (although they are related).

                  Income inequality is also inevitable. The issue is how tremendously that gap has widened.
                  It is easy to see how the gap in both income and wealth widened .......
                  items that were once considered a luxury (of all sizes ) can be financed and stretched out for ridiculous amounts of time... that is often digging a hole too deep for many people.
                  Too easy credit often with terrible terms but ..... you get to DO things or BUY items ...NOW.... and somewhere down the road they can find a way to pay.
                  We have been conditioned to believe "why wait " there is one way or another to have all sorts of good and services NOW.
                  Cars loans are now extended last time I was at a dealership to 7 years....... I have seen people paying for a cell phone for years......I know a young lady that had dropped and broke her screen had it taped up and I asked why not get a new one ...... she said she had 8 more months to pay on this one....
                  ZERO real education on personal finance.
                  Mostly IMO because it may make people feel uncomfortable. Learning new things or making changes is SUPPOSED to be uncomfortable........ In order to teach good money habits, teachers MAY be stepping on toes by pointing out either the student / students family are making financial mistakes over and over.

                  Reading articles and books to try to educate yourself... can be frustrating too ........many people just trying to sell a book or system ...... some writing about this subject simply do not get it or tell their readers that basically it is too hard if you did not have x amount by a certain age/ life event ....

                  Comment


                    #24
                    Smallsteps what does any of that have to do with income inequality? That refers strictly to what people earn, not how they spend it.
                    Steve

                    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                    Comment


                      #25
                      Originally posted by LivingAlmostLarge View Post
                      income inequality is insane. Back in the 90s my first minimum wage job paid $4.65. Now it is $16/hr. Is that enough? I think it many other states they don't make $16/hr. But I do think it needs to get to a more "livable" wage considering how many jobs there are that people many are second wage earners for the family and need the money to make ends meet. Work at minimum wage jobs.

                      I mean it's crazy that CEOs now early 1000x what a normal worker makes it feels like. Versus before it was only 100-200x. Oh that was way to littler
                      $7.25 here... was $5.15 when I got my first job 20 years ago Yes our COL is low but the poor are definitely getting poorer when you have to work an hour to buy a gallon of milk and some eggs.

                      Comment


                        #26
                        Originally posted by Smallsteps View Post
                        ZERO real education on personal finance.
                        Mostly IMO because it may make people feel uncomfortable. Learning new things or making changes is SUPPOSED to be uncomfortable........ In order to teach good money habits, teachers MAY be stepping on toes by pointing out either the student / students family are making financial mistakes over and over.
                        This is definitely a problem. Fundamental money management should be a required course for every year of school.
                        Also think Home Ec should be required so that kids learn some basic food prep skills, how to do some basic things around the house. Some required shop classes wouldn't hurt either.

                        The poor in this country get plenty of money (SNAP) to eat quite well on, but they don't know how to handle the money and they make ignorant food purchase decisions.

                        Kind of an unrelated question - Do they still flunk kids who don't meet the standards to advance to the next grade level?
                        I suspect the answer is no as I've not heard of anything like this for a while. Probably just move the problem on to the next level.

                        Comment


                          #27
                          Originally posted by Fishindude77 View Post

                          The poor in this country get plenty of money (SNAP) to eat quite well on, but they don't know how to handle the money and they make ignorant food purchase decisions.
                          We're way off topic here, so apologies to James for derailing his thread.

                          Very often, these folks live in food deserts, areas that may not have a single supermarket. Nowhere to buy fresh produce, meat, fish, and poultry. They do their grocery shopping at the little convenience store on the corner. They often don't have their own transportation so getting to an actual supermarket may require a 60-90 minute bus ride each way. That can be a challenge when the weather is bad, you have a couple of little kids, or you work 6-7 days a week as is often the case. Plus a high percentage of SNAP recipients are elderly and disabled so shopping is often a real challenge for them for that reason alone.
                          Steve

                          * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                          * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                          * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                          Comment


                            #28
                            It starts with how we divide and provision money and resources to schools and lower income areas. That's all great stuff--teaching personal finance, trade skills and other concepts of 'self reliance', and the reality is, even if there was an initiative to do that, schools need resources, funding to do that. Poor schools simply don't have those resources. Nor do they have resources for after-school enrichment activities, enough volunteers for mentoring, etc. If we're going to provide government daycare, then it needs to be equal for all Americans, and it isn't--period--end of story.

                            I'm so sick and tired of hearing from the "f-you, got-mine" crowd on how people just need to learn to bootstrap it, and then subject-change to how they spend SNAP benefits. Who the f* cares--I don't. I'm privileged and make enough money that I really don't care how a family spends their SNAP benefits even if it costs me more in taxes. I'll make more money. But that food, whether it's a smart buy or is healthy or unhealthy--the people on SNAP benefits need it more than I do.

                            I'd believe it if America wasn't the only country with this kind severe income (and wealth) inequality. What we don't have in America is a limit for wealth, and people want to call that an equal platform and a reason income/wealth inequality shouldn't exist. It's not. We start people out on unequal platforms and then blame them for not succeeding and that's very, very different.
                            Last edited by ua_guy; 07-29-2020, 09:03 AM.

                            Comment


                              #29
                              Originally posted by ua_guy View Post
                              We start people out on unequal platforms and then blame them for not succeeding and that's very, very different.
                              Great post and so very true. I've said it many times here: we need to stop blaming poverty on the poor. Everyone isn't equal. Everyone doesn't have the same access to quality food, clean water, a good education, good-paying jobs, adequate healthcare, childcare, and more. That doesn't mean that someone can't rise up out of poverty but the odds are greatly stacked against them from the start.

                              You've probably seen this but this video illustrates privilege in a good way: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyl4EJhq47A
                              Steve

                              * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                              * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                              * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                              Comment


                                #30
                                It's definitely become more stratisfied. It's really hard now to start poor and climb your way out of poverty and get ahead. Now it's all about having the privilege and leg up for your kids. I say that as someone who will absolutely I make no bones about it give my kids every advantage and edge I can possible. I won't lie and say I won't help them if i can.

                                Even if it's not financial my kids are getting advantages now that others don't have. Stable family life, health insurance, food, internet, healthy food, exercise, etc. Everything that many people bordering on economic uncertainty don't have. I speak from experience that having those edges makes a huge difference.

                                I can honestly say that if DH and I were so fortunate that we managed to start out right with minimal student loans we wouldn't be where we are. Now had we done a few things different we'd be retired at 40 multi-millionaires. Had we had parents able to get us ahead like our friends we'd seriously be set for life and retired. But as it is, i'd guess we are further ahead than most because luck broke our way a few times. We married the right person. We did a lot of frugal things right and still do, But people in poverty sometimes the wrong break = getting further behind kwim?
                                LivingAlmostLarge Blog

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